Are owners allowed to take tips?

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Are owners allowed to take tips?

I work at a cafe and my two bosses work behind the counter making coffees and serving food and taking orders. At the end of my shift they will take the tips and split it 3 ways. Is that legal?

Asked on February 28, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, New York

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

NY is one of many states that allows employers to pool tips. This means that employees subject to the pool have to chip in a portion of their tips, which are then divided among a group of employees (although an employee must be able to keep at least the full minimum wage). Employees subject to, and who my participate in, tip pooling are those who perform, or assist in performing, personal service to patrons as a regular and principal part of their job duties. However, employers are not legally allowed to keep any part of the pool; it all must be distributed to employees. Employees who have limited supervisory duties may participate in the pool if they provide personal service to patrons as a regular or principal part of their job. Although, an employee who has meaningful authority/control over subordinates may not take part in the pool.


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